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Six women to be inspired by on International Women's Day
07 March 2017
On 8 March it's International Women's Day, which gives us a great opportunity to remember our persecuted sisters around the world. Here are six women to be inspired by and pray for on International Women's Day:
Rebecca from Nigeria
Rebecca, an Open Doors partner in Nigeria, was forced to flee her home twice to escape Boko Haram - but she has started a small NGO to serve widows and orphans in her city. She says, "We were all refugees at that time and we all needed help, but I saw that many widows needed more help than I did." Her team of volunteers are supporting 2,000 widows every month.
Meena* and Sunita* from India
Meena and Sunita are sisters from a Hindu background who decided to follow Jesus. They were beaten by their neighbours for their new faith; Sunita was beaten until she was unconscious, then dragged to the edge of her town. When she awoke, her wrist was broken; a bone was sticking out of it. She had no idea if her sister, Meena, who was also beaten, was alive or dead. She hid in a goat shed and prayed, "I can die or I can witness. Make me a witness for you."
The sisters survived and found each other - and refused to give up their faith. They now live in a different village, and your support has enabled them to open a small stationery shop to support themselves. Meena says, "Thank you for praying for us and helping us."
Suaad from Iraq
Watch this short film about Suaad, a tailor in Iraq, who was forced to flee her home to escape the self-proclaimed Islamic State. She's teaching other displaced women how to sew so they can support their families.
Asia Bibi from Pakistan
Asia Bibi has been imprisoned in Pakistan since 2009. She was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for allegedly blaspheming the prophet Mohammed during an argument with local Muslim women, who refused to allow her to draw water from the well. She was the first woman to be sentenced to death under Article 295C of Pakistan's penal code. This verdict suspended by a higher court in July 2015. She was due to present her final appeal in October 2016, but this was postponed.
Hwa-Young* in China
Hwa-Young has a ministry reaching out to North Korean women who have been trafficked to China. Supporting North Koreans who have left North Korea can be dangerous work, but Hwa-Young says, "I don't have any fear of death. I'm a single woman, and if it's necessary I don't mind dying for this cause."
Most of the women Hwa-Young supports have been sold into marriage or servitude, and are abused and ill-treated by their new husbands and captors. Through years of experience and work, Hwa-Young has been connecting with these broken women, and many have been changed because of Jesus' love.
STAND WITH YOUR PERSECUTED SISTERS
As we celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March, here are three ways you can support your persecuted sisters around the world:
- Pray - for protection, provision and boldness for our persecuted sisters. Use our prayer resources to help you.
- Give. Many persecuted women have experienced terrible trauma, but every £30 can provide two days of trauma care training for a church leader or lay leader to help them bring healing.
- Speak out. Women have faced the most brutal persecution at the hands of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The One Million Voices of Hope petition is asking for equality, dignity and responsibility for Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. Sign the petition, or if you've already signed it, download a copy and ask others to sign it too.